As a Smartphone reviewer, I spend most of my time with the latest greatest and fastest phones out there. So with my benchmarks set so high the pain points of a truly budget device should be painfully obvious.
Having said that I spent 5 days with my SIM card in the Leagoo KIIRAA Mix let’s take a look at my day and when I wish that I’d had more phone.
The KIICAA Mix design is inspired by the Xiaomi Mi Mix which launched last year with a similar thin bezel format. The single fingerprint scanner in on the bottom and the front-facing camera awkwardly appears on the bottom left-hand side. It’s unusual placement and you have to get used to flipping the phone over to take selfies.
The back cover is made of a plastic that does feel very premium and the dual camera set up isn’t flush to the back.
At this price, it’s really hard to find a better screen.
Setting up the Leagoo took some time, the display is a bit dull or washed out, don’t get me wrong, it’s is all screen and has narrow bezels that screams “I’m a modern handset”. It went through nearly all their wallpapers looking for something that would show off the display and minimize the fact that it lacks any kind of saturation or pop.
The display is also missing auto brightness, not such a big deal, but I did notice it was missing. Not including an ambient light sensor is where we start to see cost savings.
Once my eye’s adjusted to the FHD Panel I didn’t mind it. Sure the viewing angles suck so if I want to share video with the person beside you one of you will have a very white film fogging up your view of the display.
If I didn’t hold it up to the standards of the blacks on the AMOLED display’s Samsung uses or the obscenely crisp text of any 2K display out there. But the KIIRCAA’s Sharp panel is acceptable. In fact, I handed it to someone who recently bought a Pixel 2 stood there with both in hand and said: “I can’t believe this is $100” and his girlfriend commented: “bet you wish you didn’t drop $800 on your phone”. Shock at the price while marveling at the display is the reaction I get when I tell everyone the price.
Of course, there is a huge difference between the Google Pixel 2 and the Leagoo, mainly display, build quality, camera, battery life and software experience. You are making signification compromises when you go for a budget phone, but at 1/8th the price what do you expect?
The fingerprint reader does feel slow, 1 out of every 5 attempts comes back as a failure. It’s also a multi-purpose button that acts as a home button, back button, and a recent apps button. It didn’t work very well and it was easier to just swipe up and access the on-screen navigation buttons.
|CPU Processor||MT6750T Octa-Core 1.5GHz|
|CPU Core Quantity||Octa-Core|
|GPU||Mali-T720 MP1 650(T)MHZ|
|Memory Card||2 Nano SIM or 1 Nano SIM + 1 TF card|
|Max. Expansion Supported||256GB|
|Touch Screen Type||IPS|
|Screen Size ( inches)||5.5|
|Screen Edge||2.5D Curved Edge|
|Network Type||2G , 3G , 4G|
|Band Details||GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz WCDMA: 850/900/2100MHz FDD-LTE: 800/850/900/1800/2100/2600MHz (Band 1,3,5,7,8,20)|
|Data Transfer||GPRS , HSPA , LTE|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b,g,n|
|SIM Card Type||1 TF card , Nano SIM|
|SIM Card Quantity||2|
|Network Standby||Dual Network Standby|
|Bluetooth Version||Bluetooth V4.0|
|Operating System||Android 7.0|
|Camera type||2 x Cameras|
|Front Camera Pixels||13MP|
|features||Wi-Fi , GPS , FM , Bluetooth|
|Sensor||G-sensor , Proximity|
|Waterproof Level||IPX0 (Not Protected)|
|I/O Interface||USB Type-c|
|Other Features||5.5″ HD IPS + Dual Network Standby + Android7.0 + 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM + Wi-Fi + GPS + FM + 13.0MP Front camera+ 13.0MP Rear camera + 3000mAh battery + Octa-Core + Bluetooth 4.0|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Dimensions||5.59 in x 2.99 in x 0.28 in (14.2 cm x 7.6 cm x 0.7 cm)|
|Weight||5.47 oz (155 g)|
The KIIRCAA can take a decent photo, much better than we expected for the price point, it’s got a dual camera set up, 13MP on the rear with a 2MP secondary camera. The dual lens set up is to enable an SLR mode to blur out the background. This is where the second lens should come into play, for depth sensing, but it’s weird that we’re able to see data from it in the camera app. It’s blurring black and white images and even though the color saturation and accuracy is good, you know it’s a budget phone when you see something like we see above.
Not that we’re big on Mega Pixels, but the guys over a ChinaMobileMag noticed some discrepancies in the MP listed an what was shipped. The main camera uses a OmniVision OV8856 sensor with 8MP. The secondary camera uses a 0.3MP SP0A09 sensor.We’re more about camera performance, but it’s doesn’t help the reputation of the brand when things like this pop up.
The photo quality is acceptable, but is lacking detail, when you pull them off the phone they the lines look less sharp. You won’t be able to zoom in and crop.
Portrait mode does not do a great job of identifying the edges and in low light it’s almost impossible. Low light portrait is a challenge for the Pixel 2 and Note 8, so for this price expecting good results is unrealistic.
Running Android 7.0 this isn’t the latest version of Android and smaller Chinese manufacturers generally don’t provide updates. I’ve had the phone just over a month and have gotten an update for October, and I expect that over the next few months I might get one or two more, but an update to Android 8.0 is unlikely.
The UI can often run slow we would be curious to see how this run on stock Android, in theory, this processor should be more than enough. However, waiting 2-3 seconds for something to open or to change apps happens a few times a day.
If you’re not great at using a smartphone this lag could cause confusion and if you’re used to a more powerful processor you’ll find it annoying not knowing if the press didn’t register or if it’s simply just slow.
Sometimes you’ll have to wait a second or two for your screen to react.
|PCMark Work 2.0||3145|
|3DMark Sling Shot Extreme||387|
- No headphone jack
- Good call quality
We wish that a 3.5mm to USB Type C adapter. Someone who is buying a budget phone won’t want to shell out for a good pair of headphones. It would have been smarter to let them use whatever headphones they were already using rather than providing a terrible pair of type c headphones.
- 3000mAh Battery is likely a 2500mAh in size
- It does have Quick Charge but it’s 2.0 and not 3.1 so charging the 3000mAh battery takes just over 2.5 hours.
Leagoo’s custom UI doesn’t allow me to look at screen on time, but PC Mark’s battery life test only put it at about 4.5 hours. This much lower than what we would need from our handsets, by comparison, Galaxy Note 8 will get around 12 hours in this test.
If I have to take 1 hour of public transport playing candy crush and looking at Facebook and I have plans to go out at night, I know I’ll need to top up. The fact that it doesn’t have quick charge 3.0 makes this below average battery life noticeable.
External tests repeatedly showed results between 2.300 and 2.400mAh. If you take into consideration production-related deviations as well as deviations due to the methods of measurement you can expect a real capacity of around 2.500 to 2.600mAh. This is in line with our testing since we would expect longer screen on time for a 300mAh battery. It’s little things like that that make a budget phone…budget.
You can’t beat the pricetag on the Leagoo KIIRCAA MIX, you can pick it up at DX.com for $100, but we’ve seen it as low as 60EUR!